Philippines operator DITO Telecommunity said it is on target to launch commercial services in March next year, saying it is on track to pass a government technical audit.
DITO chief technology officer Rodolfo Santiago revealed the new operator built 1,532 towers across the Philippines, enough to connect 37 per cent of the population to connectivity speeds of 27Mbps. Around 2,000 towers will be completed by the end of the year to almost cover half of the population (47%-49%).
The company saw a setback due to the Covid-19 pandemic and needed a six-month extension to complete their technical audit, chief administrative officer Adel Tamano said at the company’s current pace, they should pass the January audit.
The company said it was aggressively constructing more towers as a second technical audit deadline in July 2021 looms. Around 40% of DITO cell sites will be on rooftops and are separate from common towers which will be shared with other providers.
"Safely, with 2,200 towers will cover the minimum 51% coverage. But we're not targeting just 51% – just like the 37%, we want the margin to be very, very safe so that our confidence of meeting our technical audit will be quite not challenging already," said Santiago, reported CNN Philippines.
On 5G the executive said the operator began testing voice and video calls in Metro Manila, Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. He added the operator’s 5G services will be standalone rather than based on legacy 4G networks.
In August, the operator saw its franchised approved by the government to continue business for the next 25 years, and provide competition to incumbents Globe and Smart.
DITO began operations in November 2018 and was formerly known as Misatel. Its commercial launch next year saw many set back with shareholders withdrawing their funding and divesting their interests.